‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ brings the action, not the characters; Griffin’s score: 6/10


“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is directed by J.A. Bayona, stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas-Howard and picks up the loose threads left by “Jurassic World” in 2015.

The film begins by reintroducing us to returning characters as well as introducing new ones, but the issue concerning all of them is the island full of dinosaurs left over from the now-ruined Jurassic World theme park. With a volcanic eruption coming, our characters are forced to head back onto the island in an effort to get the animals to safety.

Everything else kicks off following the events on the island, and if you’ve seen a couple of the trailers for the movie, you already have a basic outline of where things go. In the interest of staying spoiler-free for those who haven’t been watching the trailers, competing motives and ideologies for what to do with the dinosaurs drive the remainder of the film. Some of Fallen Kingdom’s plot carries over from seeds planted in “Jurassic World” and those fold into this film’s antagonist, but ultimately the villain may be the weakest link in the movie. There are no surprises when it comes to the bad guys in this film and their motivations are not fleshed out beyond wanting money.

The new supporting characters that we are given are also very one-note and predictable. As soon as we meet them we know what their quirk is and that’s the only character trait we get throughout the run time. They definitely have funny moments early on, but by the third act you’ve seen the same joke several times. Some characters also make decisions that can only be described as “movie decisions,” decisions that only serve to move a scene along and make no sense when applied to real-world logic. That being said, Pratt and Howard are still good as Owen and Claire. Pratt generates a lot of humor just from his on-screen charisma, but similar to “Jurassic World,” you don’t really buy their romance. To Fallen Kingdom’s credit, the romance is not a big part of the movie and they together are the anchor of the film, character-wise.

On the positive end, Fallen Kingdom does give us a lot of cool dinosaur stuff. When it comes down to it, most people agree Jurassic Park movies should prioritize the dinosaurs when it comes to action and screen-time and this one is full of both. While it does start out slow and drag a little in the second act, Fallen Kingdom is never boring and finds ways to put a lot of dinosaurs in environments that we’ve never seen them in. By far the best part of the film is seeing dinosaurs wreak havoc wherever they go, but the emotional core of the film is rooted in the animal cruelty parallels. There are some tear jerking moments involving the dinos, but we’re also asked to ponder the implications of a world where this type of genetics technology and dinosaurs exist. Those implications leave the audience with an interesting setup for another movie, as well as sending viewers home with a twist that will change the direction of the Jurassic Park franchise going forward.

Overall, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a big, loud, entertaining summer blockbuster that comes up short when it comes to characters and writing but more than delivers when it comes to dinosaur action.  

Griffin’s score: 6/10

Photo: Universal Pictures

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